Whether you are the type of person who works to live, or who lives to work, it is a good idea to maintain some balance between your working life and your regular life. It is nearly impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle without working at all, but it is also incredibly difficult to maintain one working constantly. An ideal employer understands this and accommodates their employees’ needs- whether it be a weekly game night that requires leaving early, or child care changes that require a flexible schedule. Maintaining a healthy balance between work and life not only helps you be a healthier person, but will also help you to be a better employee. When you search for a job you want to look for an employer that understands this.
How do you figure that out?
Ask. Asking the hiring manager is a good start, but they have stake in sounding better than they actually are, so you aren’t guaranteed an honest answer. Current employees are not going to want to speak against their employer, so if you want the truth you have to look elsewhere- specifically to former employees. Former employees will be the most honest references for the company, as they have experienced what it is like to be an employee, but do not have to tow the party line (especially if you talk in person or on the phone- where there is no paper trail). Ask about company culture, if there is room for remote work, if employees regularly take vacations. The answers to these questions should help you understand the company’s views.
Research your future co-workers- Social media tells the world a lot about what we do in our free time, and how much free time we have. Once you have a couple names of employees working at the company, try googling them- or looking at their facebooks. Do they routinely post pictures of non-work related activities? Do they have vacation pictures up? Are there a plethora of work related statuses?
Schedule an Early or Late Interview- In order to see how many people are there early, or how many people stay late- you have to be in the office at those hours. If you can schedule your interview before or after normal business hours, jump at the opportunity to do so. If you walk in at 7am and it is already bustling, you can be sure that you are going to be asked to come in early on a fairly regular basis. If the office is dead, you can assume that it is a fairly laid back company.
Ask about Company Culture- You can ask about work/life balance, but it may end up working against you. However, if you ask about company culture you just come off as an interested candidate. Ask about what they like about working that does not relate directly to the job, how they would describe the company culture, how they would describe a successful employee. These will give you a good sense of how the company functions without making you come off as a lazy employee.
Maintaining a work-life balance is very important, and you want to work for a company that understands this. Make sure you want to work for the company by employing these methods, before you accept the job!